46 CLEVER DIY IDEAS TO DECOR YOUR CUBICLE
How to Customize Your Cubicle at Work
If you work in an office cubicle, chances are you'll soon get tired of sitting in a boring, gray box day after day. You might even feel happier and more productive if you give your cubicle a bit of a personalized touch to make it feel more homey. You can put a little pizzazz into your workspace by following this simple guide.
Reorganizing Your Space
Empty your drawers and cabinets.This first step is essential to "de-cluttering" your cubicle. You should get rid of anything that serves no functional or aesthetic purpose. Once this is done, you can reorganize the items you've chosen to keep so that they are easy to find.
- You may find it helpful to assign certain drawers, shelves, or cabinets to certain categories of materials. This will keep things neat and facilitate easy access to essential items.
- You will probably have to make a temporary mess in order to go through everything in your desk. Just make sure you don't inhibit your ability to work in the process, especially if your reorganization spans multiple days.
Purchase desk organizer materials.The best way to keep your desk neat is to keep various categories of items separated. Your workspace will quickly descend into disarray if you have to dig through a pile or stack to find things you need. Desk organizers can be purchased at any office supply store (such as Office Depot, Staples, or The Container Store) and are handy tools for making sure this doesn't happen. Examples include:
- Drawer trays/dividers. These create separated containers within desk drawers to keep small, loose items from moving around or becoming jumbled together.
- Stacked inbox sorters. These are small desktop shelves which can be assigned categories for different types of ingoing/outgoing paperwork.
- Pen/pencil cups. This simple device simply holds your pens and pencils and provides easy access to them. They take up minimal desk space and save valuable real estate in desk drawers.
Get a small bookshelf or filing cabinet.If you deal with a lot of files, forms, or other paperwork that must be stored and referenced as part of your job, you will find it immensely helpful to have all your papers organized onto a bookshelf or in a filing cabinet. Nothing creates more clutter than papers scattered across a desktop.
- Ask your supervisor if there are any unused shelving materials or cabinets that you can move into your cubicle. Many offices have surplus materials that sit in storage until they are needed. This is a better option than reaching into your own pocket to pay for a work-related necessity.
- If you choose to use a bookshelf, also purchase hard-cover, three-ring binders to hold your paperwork. These stand up easily on shelves and keep papers from falling out or becoming mixed up.
- If you don't have space in your cubicle for a filing cabinet or bookshelf, Ask your supervisor if there are any communal filing cabinets or bookshelves you might be able to use. Just be sure to avoid placing sensitive or confidential information in a place anyone can access.
Designate spaces.Creating spaces in/on your desk and throughout your cubicle for specific purposes will help you keep things organized and easy to find and use. For example, you may wish to assign one drawer for storing stationery and another for spare materials like paper clips, staples, batteries, rubber bands, etc. This will also help keep your decorative items and trinkets from becoming jumbled with work-related functional items.
- Be practical when designating spaces so that you are sure to accommodate the demands of your work. If your work projects often require going through multiple stacks of forms in a short amount of time, you wouldn't want your 'pending paperwork' area to be assigned to your bottom desk drawer.
- Don't devote too much desk space to personal items if it means you will have trouble fitting in necessary work items.
Purchase and use a Labeler.A small, hand-held labeler can be very helpful in ensuring that your organization efforts stand the test of time. If you have labels on binders or even on desk drawers and cabinet doors, you will not only more easily locate items you need, but you will also be more inclined to maintain your space designations.
- Be sure not to stick labels to company-owned property without first checking with your supervisor for approval. Some labels may be hard to remove, and your boss probably won't want you to damage materials that don't belong to you.
- Don't go overboard. Limit your labeling to binders, drawers, cabinets, or shelves. Having labels covering every square inch of your workspace will likely be frowned upon by your supervisor and will reduce your cubicle's appeal.
Decorating with Personal Items
Hang personal photographs.This simple touch is one of the most effective ways to give your cubicle a custom feel. So long as photos are workplace-appropriate (meaning not offensive to your coworkers) and not excessive in number, you can feel free to put up photos of whatever or whomever you'd like.
- Many people choose to hang photographs of family members, pets, vacation memories, close friends, etc. Hang up photos of whatever is important to you!
- If you are not allowed or able to hang photos on your cubicle walls, pick up a picture frame and make a place for it on your desk. Just be sure to keep them small so as not to use up valuable space.
- You can supplement your personal photographs with art or decorative wall-hangings if you wish, so long as you keep the subject matter clean and don't overdo it. Also, make sure to avoid putting anything you value where it might get damaged during the course of daily work activities.
Buy a themed calendar.Choose a calendar with a theme you enjoy. This is a great way to incorporate aesthetics into a cubicle accessory you probably need to have anyway. As with photos and wall art, this can be anything that appeals to you, so long as it is workplace-appropriate.
- Choose a calendar with appealing colors to break up the muted tones that tend to characterize cubicle walls and carpeting.
- You may find that a smaller sized calendar fits better in your workspace, especially if you are short on wall space. You can also consider daily "tear-away" desktop calendars if you can't hang one up.
Set a personalized desktop background on your computer.This is another clever way to put your personal touch on something that's already present in your cubicle. Your desktop background theme can be anything that appeals to you (photos, art, landscapes, etc.) and livens up your workspace.
- Check with your company's IT department or a supervisor to make sure you are allowed to change your desktop background; your company might have restrictions on computer settings that would prohibit this.
- Because it is easy to change a desktop background, you can switch yours up regularly to keep your cubicle decor from feeling stale.
Bring in your own coffee mug.This is a simple touch that can go a long way toward making your cubicle feel more homey. Choose a mug in one of your favorite colors, one that has a funny saying, or that was a gift from your grandkids -- go nuts!
- Keep the mug in your cubicle to use when you're at work. This way, you're less likely to lose or break it during transport and you won't be stuck without your morning cup of Joe if you forget it at home.
- If you don't drink coffee and have no use for a mug, bring in a water bottle or other vessel for your favorite work time drink; the same tips apply.
Bring in knick knacks from home.Decorating your desk or a shelf with small trinkets, figurines, toys, puzzles, etc. can be a great way to customize your cubicle while taking up minimal space. Anything you like to look at that isn't too distracting will qualify, just as long as it doesn't take up too much space.
- Don't put any items in your cubicle that are exceptionally expensive. Cubicles are easily accessible to others; prevent the likelihood of theft by limiting your knick knacks to things you enjoy but that are not highly valuable.
- Don't bring in items that you will want to have or use while at home, such as your favorite 3D puzzle or a figurine that is part of a larger set. The same logic applies here as to the coffee mug; it's easier to have your things assigned either to home or work.
Balancing Comfort and Function
Bring in a small plant or tree.A desk plant will make the space seem more alive, more friendly, and will help purify the air in your workplace. Many potted plants are ideally suited to indoor living and are easy to keep alive. Avoid those that require intensive care.
- Make sure the plant you choose will do well considering the lighting and temperature in your office cubicle. Some plants require lots of sunlight, so if you don't have a window nearby it's best to avoid these kinds.
- Don't bring in any flowering or fragrant plants without first checking with neighboring coworkers to make sure they are not allergic.
- Be sure to ask a coworker to water your plant if you will be away from the office for an extended period of time.
- Keep a small spray bottle or watering can in your cubicle to help remind you to water your plant.
Bring in a small fan and heater.It is usually not possible to keep a communal office temperature at a level ideal for everyone. You will work most efficiently if you are neither too cold or too warm at work. Plan ahead by keeping a small desktop fan and a small floor heater in your cubicle in case you need them.
- Always check with a supervisor first before using a heater. The company may prohibit personal heaters for reasons of employee safety.
- Do not use a fan or heater that creates excessive noise, as this may be disruptive to your coworkers.
- If your heater has a timer, set it to turn off when your workday ends. This will eliminate the likelihood that you forget to turn it off when you leave for the day, which could pose a fire hazard.
Replace your desk chair.If your company-supplied desk chair is uncomfortable or broken, ask your supervisor if you can have it replaced. If the chair your company is willing to provide is unsatisfactory, look into buying your own. Sitting down all day can be tough on the body, and your productivity will increase if you are at least working from a comfortable chair.
- If your company will not replace your chair and you cannot afford to buy one, look into accessories that may improve your comfort level. This could include a lumbar support pillow, arm rest pads, a seat cushion, etc.
- If you purchase your own chair for use at work, be sure to keep the receipt so there is no confusion as to its ownership. You may also want to mark the chair or label it with your name.
Add lighting if needed.Some office environments are dimly lit or provide only fluorescent lighting. This can create a strain on your eyes and might even give your cubicle a drab, depressing feel. You can fix this by bringing in a lamp for your desk that creates more or better light in your workspace.
- Make sure your light does not shine into neighboring cubicles, as this could be distracting to your coworkers.
- Lamps with multiple brightness settings are ideal in case the lighting in your cubicle varies with the weather or if you prefer softer light in the mornings, for example.
Consider acquiring a standing desktop.If your work desk has enough space to do so, you may wish to consider adding an adjustable desktop stand. These allow a portion of your desktop to be raised to standing height so you don't have to sit down to work at your computer. Having the option to stand while working can help you avoid the health hazards of sitting too much while at work.
- Make sure this accessory will work for your cubicle space. These are large items that may be too big to sit on your current desk.
- Make sure you are not put in an awkward physical position by standing in your cubicle. For instance, you may not be comfortable having your head visible over the top of your cubicle walls while you stand to work.
- Check with your supervisor or company IT professional to make sure it is okay to set your computer monitor and keyboard on a moving structure, as this creates the risk that company equipment could be damaged if your standing desktop were to malfunction or fall.
- Keep extra accessory items such as batteries or light bulbs in your desk in case they need replacement while you are at work.
- Keep your cubicle clean. You are likely to be more productive in a tidy, well-organized, comfortable workspace -- and your boss will appreciate this, too.
- Check with your supervisor and neighboring coworkers before modifying your cubicle to make sure that your decorations are not bothersome to anyone and do not violate company rules.
- Stay within the guidelines! Don't go extra crazy with anything.
- Make sure that is colorful. Color helps stimulate the brain and helps you get (and stay) awake!
- Don't clutter your workspace. You shouldn't bring in so much stuff that you can't work efficiently.
- Don't bring in anything that could pose a hazard to you or your coworkers, such as candles.
Video: How To Decorate a Cubicle, 3 Ways
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